THE NEWS DESK:Pope Francis has left Dhaka wrapping up his three-day busy state visit here.
During his visit, he had an emotional interaction with some Myanmar’s displaced Rohingya Muslims alongside meetings with the President, Prime Minister and interfaith leaders.
On Saturday afternoon, Foreign Minister AH Mahmud Ali saw the top Catholic priest off at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport as he left for Rome at 5.10 pm by a chartered Biman Bangladesh Airlines flight operated by its 777-300 ER aircraft named “Arun Alo”. The Pope also passed another busy schedule during his final day here today as in the morning he was greeted by hundreds of Bangladeshi nuns at the Mother Teresa House clinic at Tejgaon.
A BSS report says he earlier paid tribute to the works of Catholics in Bangladesh at the Church Rosario in the capital where schools and clinics run by the church provide a lifeline for poor communities.
Prior to his journey to the airport, Pope Francis addressed in front of an estimated 10,000 youths and urged them to grow up with the wisdom of God that refers to communal harmony, brotherhood and goodness.
He also advised the young people to give more time to their family rather being busy with their digital devices.
The pontiff used the word “Rohingya” Friday night for the first time during his current Asia trip to refer them by their ethnic name when he also apologised for the “indifference of the world” to their plight.
Until his deeply moving encounter with Rohingyas at the Dhaka’s archbishop residence at Kakrail area, the pope, even drawing media criticism, preferred to avoid uttering the word as Myanmar declined to acknowledge them by their ethic name.
The pope yesterday also met with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the Vatican embassy in the capital while premier’s press secretary Ihsanul Karim told newsmen that they held a 20-minute private conversation while Sheikh Hasina was accompanied by her family members.
Earlier on Friday he led an open-air Mass in Suhrawardy Udyan ordaining 16 priests while the service was joined by over 80,000 Catholic Christians, who comprises only 0.02 percent of Bangladesh’s 160 million populations.
Francis arrived in Bangladesh on Thursday to a red carpet reception to be received by President Abdul Hamid after wrapping up a sensitive tour to Buddhist-majority Myanmar.
Upon his arrival in Dhaka on Thursday, the pope demanded international community’s “decisive measures” to resolve the Rohingya crisis, standing by Bangladesh at a civic reception at Bangabhaban after a meeting with the President.